Latest technologies drive off-highway vehicle and mobile machine value and safety

Latest technologies drive off-highway vehicle and mobile machine value and safety

Automation, artificial intelligence and computer vision are trending technologies for off-highway vehicle and mobile machine manufacturers.

This is according to TTControl Application Development Centre Director Janosch Fauster.

Mr Fauster explains that the Application Development Centre (ADC) was set up to help vehicle manufacturers future-proof vehicles and development processes.

Relevance of software to mobile machines

Mr Fauster is of the opinion that “software” will increasingly become the driver of additional customer value and operator safety.

In the short term assistance systems and in the long term fully autonomous machines will make it easier for less experienced machine conductors to operate even complex vehicles.

“This will only be possible with software-defined vehicles – whose features and functions are primarily enabled through software,” he says.

“We see the transformation from a hardware-based product to a software-centric electronic device on wheels ongoing in the automobile industry.

“Mobile machinery and off-highway vehicle manufacturers are currently building up the required software development capacities and establishing a network of strong partners to efficiently master this challenge.”

Key technologies for software-defined vehicles 

Mr Fauster says that high-performance computing-platforms and algorithms are key technologies for software-defined vehicles. He adds that computer vision and deep learning are “relevant” tools to support the development of highly automated and autonomous operation applications.

ADC on technological pulse of industry and abreast of trends

Currently the centre is working on several “exciting” IoT/connectivity, advanced human-machine interface adaption and ISO 26262 projects as a result of its close collaboration with machinery manufacturers, Mr Fauster says. Included in this is a fully digital cockpit, which brings with it many advantages to the operator and machine owner. 

“In view of the increasing demand for online machine monitoring, especially for predictive maintenance applications, we are working with several customers,” he says. 

A major industry topic is ISO 26262 (road vehicles - functional safety) certification for road usage. To meet demand the centre is expanding its offering in the functional safety of road vehicles, including its software development processes to cover not only ISO 13849 but also ISO 26262 compliance. 

“Combined with our ISO 26262 certified electronic control units we can now offer turnkey solutions to our customers for their on-road certification needs.”

Off-highway vehicle and mobile machine safety

Scientific laboratories complement ADC’s objectives 

Mr Fauster highlights that the centre’s team of computer vision engineers works closely with Covision Lab on applicable computer vision and artificial intelligence, as examples, and benefits from its scientific network. 

Currently joint research is taking place on multi-sensor usage for mobile machinery such as thermal, lidar and RGB-camera sensors.

“The right set of sensors will help to advance industry and agriculture applications to manage farm equipment and automating tasks like harvesting and piling,” he says.

“We have a dedicated ‘emerging technologies’ team that identifies sustainable trends and makes them accessible to our customers and partners.” 

ADC’s “highlight” project 

According to Mr Fauster a recent “highlight” ADC project has been the “RT – the first hybrid-electric firefighting truck by Rosenbauer”.

“We supported the project in terms of ensuring functional safety and to process ISO 26262 certification of the entire vehicle,” he says. 

“A mixed-critical architecture allows great flexibility for integrating applications of different safety assurance levels to the RT while the high-performance TTC 580 controller acts as the vehicle control unit. As it is based on MATLAB Simulink it allows realistic simulations, even when the vehicle was not available during the development phase.” 

The ADC recently became part of the MathWorks Connections Program to systematically offer customers these specialised capabilities for their development projects.

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